and not to hide yourself from your own kin?…
Reflection by The Rev. Miriam Saxon
The 58th chapter of Isaiah teaches us what God requires of us, of all of humanity and all of creation. And we are told, in the context of caring for those in need and for the vulnerable, “to not hide yourself from your own kin.” We are created as Children of God, and all are made in God’s image and therefore sacred. Hence Dorothy Day reminds us that: “I only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” And in today’s America that is a true commandment, yet a desperately difficult requirement when we are surrounded by so many people filled with hatred of “the other”, and especially of foreigners and those desperately seeking refuge in our wide land.
My diocese has a companion relationship with the Anglican Diocese of Botswana. As part of the leadership of that diocesan link, I have traveled to Botswana several times, and what always impresses and humbles me is the incredible and instinctive hospitality of our friends there. When the country was created in 1966, they designed a national shield with two zebras on it, pictures of an animal with alternating white and black stripes. It was chosen to state explicitly that Botswana is not like its neighbor, South Africa. It is a country proudly modeling racial equality and proclaiming that in its national symbols. The people of Botswana show us how to live in harmony with those who are different or are strangers, and they do not hide themselves from those kin. Hence, the Church’s role is to follow God’s commandment to offer hospitality, and to not hide from our own kin, remembering that our “own kin” is all of the beloved children of God. All of them.
- Who do you hide from? Those whom you fear? Those who appear to be “not your tribe/kin”?
- What makes you afraid to offer hospitality to those in need of your welcome, your care for them?
- What should the Church do to share God’s love? Are there limits to what we can do as we build God’s Kingdom here on the earth, God’s Beloved Community?
- Sometimes we get deterred from acting because we think the problem is too big or requires too much effort or we lack the skills to do this. But what can you — as one individual — do, in small ways, about changing our broken world?
Miriam Saxon is an Episcopal priest who currently serves as the Vicar at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Haw River, NC. Until 2020 she also served as a Hospice chaplain. Her sense of social justice was formed by her family’s Church (Presbyterian branch) while she grew up in the midst of civil rights protests in Alabama. She is married to a Unitarian Universalist minister.
Reflections on Stations of the Cross:
During Lent 2020, Episcopal Migration Ministries offered an opportunity to journey the Stations of the Cross. A digital booklet and compilation of audio meditations is available for download.